Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust Annual Lecture, by Moshe Machover, 30 November 2006. Here we post only the Preface of Machover’s lecture. For the full text, along with an appendix, please download the PDF – copied with thanks from the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust Website. Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).



On 30 November 2006 I had the great privilege of delivering the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn trust annual lecture. The event took place at the Brunei Gallery lecture theatre, in London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

My predecessors in these Annual Lectures have included some very illustrious men and women; and I am deeply grateful to the Trustees for the honour of being added to that distinguished line, and for offering me this invaluable opportunity to share with a large and lively audience thoughts on a subject that has been engaging me these fifty years.

I am indebted to the Trust administrator Willow Grylls, and to the lecture organizer Ariane Severin, for their most efficient work in setting up and organizing the event.

Special thanks are due to one of the Trustees, Tariq Ali, who chaired the meeting with great skill and insight into the subject. No choice of chairperson could be more fitting: in 1969, an article co-authored by the late Palestinian Arab Marxist Jabra Nicola (writing under the pen-name ‘A Said’) and me, in which some of the main ideas contained in my lecture were first outlined in English, was published in the journal Black Dwarf edited by Tariq.

In this connection I would like to pay tribute to the memory of my comrade and friend, Jabra Nicola (1912–74). He joined the Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen) a few months after its foundation, and his analysis of the impact of Zionism on Palestine and the Arab East greatly influenced our thinking on the subject. In particular, we owe to him the insistence on the regional context of the Palestinian problem and its eventual resolution – which is a central theme of my lecture.

What follows is a somewhat expanded version of the lecture. I have added here a few observations and clarifications – mainly suggested by questions or comments from members of the audience – as well as some source material that I had no time to quote during the lecture. But I have tried to preserve the discursive and informal style of an oral presentation.

I am grateful to Ehud Ein-Gil, Z. Havkin and Tikva Honig-Parnass, who read a draft of this text and made some helpful comments.


For the full text, along with an appendix, please download the PDF – copied with thanks from the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust Website.